- Similarity breeds contempt, and Style Of Eye, (secret identity, Swede Linus Eklöw) has a message for all the minimal house me-toos: Get your ass under the desk, this is an earthquake. About the only place Duck, Cover and Hold could be described as reserved is in its toolbox. Eye relies on the (relatively) limited palette of skittering drums, farty basslines and expansive, hands-in-the-air string pads, spiced with the assorted siren, chirp or distorted vox snippet. For better or worse, everything else about the biscuit-stuffed hour-plus record is turned up to 11.
First, the bangers: Eklöw frontloads the disc, dropping haunted house mini-symphony "Girls" in the number three spot. It starts out like a middling-to-good '90s club track that then takes a weird detour into Close Encounters-beatless church organ mode. When it escapes at minute 3:08, it comes on like an unstable, mutated juggernaut, attacking every turn. Soon on the high heels of "Girls" comes the second single, "Number Two," an obviously flooriented nu-trance cut that rides on Princess Zelda synths and somehow avoids the usual cliché humping. Like many of the longish druggy tracks, it morphs into something completely different in a third act, a tappy-jerky little drum suite that cleanly seals the zipper bag.
SOE fleshes the rest of the album out in fairly equal proportions with slow-burners, WTFs and a handful of straight-up stinkers. Such is the contradiction of presenting electronic music in album form: Rather than packaging the club-tuned singles as isolated, polished gems, we see them in the continuum of ideas that gave rise to them—and not all ideas are equal. The worst of the album, "The Prophet," isn't itself all that bad, but the flatulent horns and woozy sirens are obviously employed better elsewhere. The same goes for "Ona." It's sonically similar to superior songs like epic "Banned," and doesn't come close to earning its lengthy six minutes.
Album oddities include "Clown," an aptly named exploration of merry-go-round music that may actually be danceable, a feat that evokes Vitalic's "Polkamatic." (At least it's not a big kazoo solo like Eye's last EP.) Equally eyebrow-raising but less successful is "Galore," a chugging vocal track featuring BET dreamboat Stephen Simmonds that would be at home on a Thievery Corporation record, and I don't mean that in a nice way. Bottom line, though? Style Of Eye probably set out here to save dance music from its own mannered subtlety, and while he fell far short of a masterpiece, if you are looking for a steamy, beefy, at times overcooked antidote to this winter's chilly tracks, Duck might be the soup for you.
01. Duck Cover & Hold feat. Emma Henley
04. Pad Problems
05. Number Two
06. The Prophet
08. I See Them Coming
10. Galore feat. Stephen Simmonds
13. The Last Song